The Daytona Times staff chose the top 10 of the hundreds of stories our newspaper staff reviewed, covered or wrote this year. Factors considered include newsworthiness, local relevance, uniqueness, and emotional impact.
1 Jackson becomes sixth president of B-CU
Dr. Edison Jackson was chosen by Bethune-Cookman University’s board of trustees to take over for former B-CU president Trudie Reed as interim president beginning May 13, 2012. He was chosen as the permanent president in March.
This is Jackson’s third presidency, having served as president of Compton Community College in Compton, Calif. and Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.
B-CU also opened a Deltona campus in August.
2 Yvonne Scarlett Golden Cultural and Educational Center opens
The $2.5 million dollar center, named after Daytona Beach’s first Black mayor, opened on Vine Street in June.
The one-story building includes a courtyard in the center showcasing an open-air amphitheater a library, gym, small theater, photography area and rooms for dance classes and after-school programs. Also a permanent historic exhibit featuring memorabilia celebrating Scarlett-Golden and the neighborhood can be found inside.
“The building honors her spirit. An advocate for civil and human rights. She returned home to serve us with valor and dignity looking after young and elderly. Her commitment will never be forgotten,” Mayor Derrick Henry said at the grand opening.
3 ‘Justice for Trayvon’ rallies attract large crowds
Locals react to the not-guilty verdict of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. The Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance and local NAACP were among groups protesting the July 13 acquittal of Zimmerman.
Daytona Beach was one of the cities holding protests urging U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to file federal charges for the violation of Trayvon Martin’s civil rights against George Zimmerman.”
Local ministers were in Sanford on Saturday, the day George Zimmerman was acquitted, on July 13.
4 Speedway reaches out to minority contractors
More than 200 minority, women and local contractors turned out for the Daytona Rising subcontractor outreach forum held July 17 at the Daytona International Speedway (DIS).
The forum provided a broad overview of DIS’s $400 million renovation project and its timeline over the next 30 months. Barton Malow is the contractor for the construction project.
All attendees were encouraged to email DIS.Outreach@bartonmalow.com to get on the bidders’ list. A second outreach forum was held in October.
5 Orange Avenue to see upgrades next year
Daytona Beach city officials moved forward with the long-awaited Orange Avenue reconstruction and upgrading streetscape project from Nova Road to Beach Street. The project will cost $22 million – $3 million more than residents were earlier told.
Daytona Beach Public Information Officer Susan Cerbone said construction is now expected to start in March 2014. “It is anticipated that it will take 2 1/2 years to complete the project due to its complexity and limited right-of-way,” she noted.
Funding for the project is being provided from a 20-year Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Revolving Loan, Florida Department of Transportation grants, Volusia County and the City of Daytona Beach.
6 Ida Duncan Wright sworn in
On Jan. 29, Wright became the newest member of the Volusia County School Board. She defeated retired educator Kathy Williams, widow of the late Al Williams, who died Oct. 1, 2012, after winning re-election on Aug. 16 against Wright.
“They say the third time is a charm – I will never deny that statement. I am deeply humbled to serve as the Volusia County School Board, District 2 Representative. I pledge to represent our District 2 Community with a high degree of integrity. Each decision made will be thoughtful and backed by extensive research,” Wright said in an interview with the Daytona Times after winning the seat she will hold for the next four years.
7 DeLand case attracts national attention
Marlon Brown, a Black DeLand resident, was run over and killed by DeLand cop James Harris during a pursuit on May 8. Harris has since been fired.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s parents, is now representing Brown’s ex-wife who called for an independent investigation of the case.
Crump spoke at a town-hall meeting in August at Greater Union First Baptist Church. The meeting called for a petition to have a fired DeLand Police Department officer arrested in the death of Brown.
8 The ‘Not My City’ movement begins
A “March Against the Madness” was held in the Derbyshire community with numerous elected officials, pastors and the parents of children affected by violence at Derbyshire Park. Facilitator Bishop Derek Triplett of Hope Fellowship Church asked the crowd of 300 to sign a pledge to commit to helping end gun violence, domestic violence and gangs in the community.
The movement also followed the death of Ji’Ron Jeffery Dent, a 17-year old who died at Halifax Hospital on March 7 from a gunshot wound to the head. He was shot on March 4 in the Madison Heights subdivision following an argument over a stolen vehicle. This incident and others involving youth sparked Daytona Commissioner Patrick Henry to start a mentoring program.
9 Daytona approves new property policy
Prompted by a controversy to rename the Derbyshire Athletic Fields after retired educator Harold Lucas, the Daytona Beach City Commission established new procedures and guidelines for naming and renaming city-owned land and facilities and provides a mechanism for commissioners to recommend names they believe should be considered.
The city staff came up with the new policy based on data received from local governments, which will allow the commission to review each request on a case-by -case basis. Any living person whose name is proposed must be willing to submit to a background check, including a criminal history and code violation check.
10 Sequestration hits Midtown Head Start center
The East Volusia II Head Start center located in Daytona Beach’s Midtown, no longer exists at that location because of the federal budget reductions known as sequestration.
Two other Head Start locations still exist in the area – at Turie T. Small Elementary and on Keech Street. Nationwide, Head Start, the federal pre-K education service for low-income families, eliminated services for more than 57,000 children in the coming school year as a result of sequestration.
Other notable events
•B-CU wins Florida Classic for the third time. The Wildcats defeated instate rivals Florida A&M University for the third year in a row in November. The game, 29-10, was in front of a crowd of 45,321 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
•Vickie Presley was approved by the Volusia County School Board on June 25 to be the Volusia County area superintendent overseeing 34 schools. She was principal of Campbell Middle School from 2003 to 2011.
•Todd Snipes, the Volusia County beach patrol officer who posted racially sensitive notes such as “another thug gone,” on his Facebook page, after the Zimmerman verdict, was fired.
•Construction on Northwood Village II, a 27-unit property located on 1.93 acres in unincorporated Volusia County, began Sept. 5. The $3.5 million construction will be the first new affordable housing of this type in Daytona Beach in nearly 30 years.
•Actor Charles Dutton shared his journey from jail to Yale to stardom during the Volusia County-Daytona Beach NAACP 40th Annual Freedom Fund and Awards Banquet at the Plaza Resort and Spa held in May. The Daytona Times was honored at the event.
•Daytona Times Assistant Editor Ashley Thomas wins a second-place award for best feature article titled “Hovering Around the Classic’’ in the National Newspaper Publisher’s Association media contest. The Association has more than 200-member newspapers across the United States and abroad.